Tom Anderson believes the people involved in the cruise industry in the area of the Cruise Canada New England alliance are doing a lot of things right.
Anderson, director of shore operations — Americas, with Princess Cruises, was a panelist in a town hall session on growing the Canada New England market at the 16th annual Canada New England Cruise Symposium at the Pepsi Centre Friday morning.
The symposium, hosted by the Port of Corner Brook, wrapped up Friday afternoon
Anderson’s message was about building consumer awareness.
“Getting our future passengers to walk into traveller agents and say ‘this is where we want to go.’”
How to do that, and do it within a budget, is a “million dollar question,” but Anderson said advertisements coming out of the Atlantic and New England region, in particular from Newfoundland, are doing a good job at creating that awareness.
“The ads that I’ve seen, that we don’t see in the States, I think are phenomenal,” he said, describing them as clever, fun and exciting.
“In some ways, the hidden part of Newfoundland is the people,” he said. “And I don’t mean hidden from the standpoint that they’re not around, they’re always around, they’re so friendly.”
Anderson said it’s hard to translate that in a marketing campaign, but he thinks it’s seen in the promotional videos.
“Having been here and just walking around, the people are just so genuine and so friendly and I love it. And coming from a place like Miami, it’s refreshing.
While Princess Cruises presence in the region is more of a fall foliage cruise destination, that is not something that is promoted by the company.
“I think the people coming up here they know it’s going to be cooler. They certainly love the colours.”
But Anderson said, unlike 15 years ago when it would be a big feature, today to avoid disappointment the cruise line understates it.
“Because what happens if you’re starting in say the very beginning of September, well gosh there’s no colour, there’s that sweet spot in the middle where there’s almost colour everywhere and then it goes away.”
As for what could be done to enhance the experience of travellers, Anderson said it’s not about the ports and the facilities.
“Let’s get them out. Let’s get them to see the destinations.”
Anderson said the convention is an opportunity to interact with Cruise Canada New England and the people involved.
“You have to be collaborative, you have to be discussing back and forth and understanding what your challenges are and also what the challenges of cruise lines are,” he said.
“There’s been all this sort of education that’s happened (over the years) and understanding, for us understanding the destinations better and for the destinations understanding the cruise industry better.”